Monday, April 16, 2012

So Incredibly Bored

Yeah sorry about last week. I don't want to go into specifics but let's just say a lot of shit hit the fan because for some reason the bad stuff that happens to me likes to pile on all at once. :sigh: That said, onward to the snark.

Our Brave Heroes aka Judd and Lionel and Jamal bravely watch TV and are shocked that the worldwide media under the control of a ruthless dictator is trying pin the murder of the GC guard on Our Buck. Not to mentheection ends with the kids being horrified upon hearing about St. Rayford's death. Of course seeing as Rayford is a freaking Highlander who will probably outlast Dr. Manhattan, it's hard to feel any concern for him.

Okay for once Jenkins steps off the narrative gas and we get some actual character development complete with fairly realistic dialogue between Mark and Melinda. Melinda, if you're wondering, is still in cuffs which Mark is still trying to break. Basically they talk about hiding from the GC, what are they going to do now, and Melinda, once again proving what a hardened reprobate she is, tells him she's sorry to hear about the loss of his aunt. Again this proves she's a horrible sinner because if she was a good and proper RTC, she'd have just shrugged it off.

Back to Judd and Lionel...apparently Ken Ritz is dead. This might have had an impact on the readers if Ken had ever been mentioned before this point or even appeared onscreen at some point. Seriously all I know about the dude is that Chloe names her currently gestating child after him.

Okay back to the school. This book changes settings so fast, I'm in serious danger of whiplash here. I know according to the great RTC hierarchy, Judd ranks the highest of the YTF (by virtue of being both the eldest member and a proud owner of a penis) but it doesn't take much to see that Vicki is demonstrating much more leadership chops than Judd can ever hope to possess. She's managing to keep the rest of the school together but no doubt, eventually she'll be punished for being a girl with girl parts especially since she has the nerve to hold a Bible study in order to keep up morale. Not only is her lesson not one of the cherrypicked verses Ellanjay uses to prop up their incredibly convoluted interpretation of scripture (it's a selection from Paul's letter to the Phillippians if you're wondering), but in holding this lesson, she's holding authority over a man and you know how RTCs feel about that. Even though Deborah aka one of the Judges clearly holds authority over a man and as I recall, she has ovaries. I imagine if I really wanted to tie RTCs in knots, I should bring up the story of Jael.

Anyway, the passage Vicki instructs them on basically says that regardless of what they endure as a result of their beliefs, they should be content. Not an entirely bad passage for the YTF to study if you ask me. They also say a prayer for Melinda, marking one of the rare times that an RTC demonstrates compassion for someone who isn't one of them.

Mark is still trying to break Melinda's cuffs when we run into yet another character who appeared in a previous book but you probably have forgotten about otherwise known as Janie. Like them, Janie is fleeing the GC. She claims to have become more religious since meeting Vicki but since Mark can't tell if she has the Super Special Awesome Secret Mark, jury's out on whether we can trust her.

Judd and Lionel are still hiding out when a beautiful girl shows up and given the amount of description she receives, she'll likely eventually be given a name and won't be just an NPC. She tells them that they have a phone call. Turns out Samuel's calling them and he tells them Mr. Stein has been released but doesn't know where he is and that's the end of that chapter.

Next chapter begins at the school and all that happens is that the YTF on night duty, Conrad, finds a fancy box and Mark, Melinda, and Janie return to the school.

Meanwhile in Israel, just as I suspected, the beautiful young girl, who is Jamal's daughter, is given a name, Nada,.Just as I guessed she is described as having an Arabic accent which adds to my suspicions that before her family became good RTCs, they were eeevil Muslims (though it is possible they were Palestinian Christians but I'm willing to bet the farm that Ellanjay are the type who use Arab and Muslim interchangeably, which is high on my list of pet peeves) . But regardless, they've seen the light thanks to Token Jew's website.

Meanwhile, at the school, turns out Janie is a follower of EBOWF and naturally believes that a God of Love wouldn't inflict all this misery on us. Vicki makes the same weaksauce argument that he's trying to get her attention to which Janie responds "I let my God guide me and he got me out of prison. "

Judd and Lionel read Token Jew's email and go to the funeral home, pick up a coffin, with Mr. Stein in it. I'll cut to the end and tell you that Mr. Stein isn't really dead.

Quick cut to the school. Vicki lays out the rules of the school. Naturally everyone has to attend a Bible study and Janie says she's not going to convert but yeah...we'll see how that plays out.

And that's it. Sorry again for the lack of snark last week.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Are you a man? Or are you an NPC?

Gotta give credit where credit is due: In the beginning, Ellanjay manage to create the slight possibility of actual suspense regarding Judd and Lionel's situation. They're being held prisoner by a GC officer and his son. Not to mention,
Samuel's dad aka Mr. Goldberg aka can anyone name a single Jewish character who doesn't have a Jewy McJew kind of name, tells them that while most of their friends manage to escape, one didn't. He refuses to say which one but obviously St. Rayford and Our Buck are safe, Our Buck because he hasn't reached the appointed time and hour in which he must die (frankly I'm surprised Jenkins was able to go through with killing his beloved self-insert) and because Rayford is the friggin' highlander by virtue of being Tim LaHaye's self-insert.

Anyway Judd, like an idiot, rushes somebody with a gun which goes off but nobody isi hurt. Lionel, Judd, and Samuel race down a secret passage and Samuel leads them to an apartment building where they are greeted by a woman wearing a veil. At first, I was briefly hopeful that we had finally gotten a character who is both of a different faith from RTCianity yet is opposed to the GC. Naturally I assumed she and her husband were Muslims (husband's name is Jamal) but obviously that can't be the case because everyone knows that followers of other faiths don't really believe in their faith, they just hate Jesus but they'll be sorry, you'll see. Anyway, naturally Jamal and his wife are RTCs like all good people in this story.

Chapter ends by going back to Mark. He discovers that said aunt he was looking for has died and been cremated. Still don't remember if said aunt was an RTC or if she's being slow-roasted in Hell, but this whole trip was probably a plot contrivance (in an Ellanjay story? Surely you jest) to get him away from the YTF so he can discover what happened to Melinda: she's handcuffed in the back of a GC squad car.

Now naturally you know Melinda will be rescued. By virtue of having a name that means she's not just an NPC who can be sacrificed like a used kleenex just to prove a point. I will give Ellanjay credit: they actually come up with a decent action scene for Melinda's rescue. I don't know how realistic it all is with the GC being helpless against a kid armed with a brick and a motorcycle but I'll allow this because I'm so desperate for something to happen. What happens is this: Mark throws a brick into a shopfront window, setting off an alarm which distracts the GC and enables him to grab Melinda and they ride off together on the motorcycle.

Back to the characters who actually matter according to Ellanjay: Judd and Lionel. Basically, Jamal, who is currently holding the Braincells around here, tentatively suggests that having the son of a GC officer, especially one who has already tried to sell them out before, is a somewhat bad idea. Strangely enough, Judd actually cooperates with this guy (who is one step above being an NPC) and they slip out, promising to make sure that Samuel doesn't rat out the people Jamal is hiding.

They talk to Samuel who tells them that Mr. Stein is in captivity and is severely beaten. Samuel still hasn't said the prayer but no doubt he will because all the damned are off-screen.

Meanwhile Melinda and Mark struggle to escape the GC dragnet. Now back to Judd and Lionel.

Surprisingly enough, it's Lionel who is walking Samuel through the scripture, not Judd. I was certain that Judd, by virtue of being both the main character and a mini-Rayford, would be given this all-important task, rather than Lionel, who plays the part of the Token Black Guy who exists to prove that the hero isn't racist by virtue of being black. Anyway fear not, readers: Lionel's speech is essentially "Jesus is God. The Bible says so, " so those of y'all dreading long lectures, fear not. But Samuel doesn't immediately go, "Oh shit! Baptize me now!" Instead he says he has to go meet his father, leaves some money for them, and runs off. But not before Lionel slips him a scrap of paper with a Bible verse on it. The smart aleck in me hopes that the verse in question is Ezekiel 23:20 but it'll probably be something along the lines of John 3:16 aka the RTCs go-to verse. Naturally the next time we see Samuel, he will have happily abandoned Jewish teachings and become a good and faithful RTC. Because he is a man and not an NPC.